It was on one of those sunny crisp afternoons last week that I popped out for some fresh air & bumped into one of the guys from the office. He and I started talking about, yes you guessed it, Covid. Have you found that no matter how determined you are not to talk about it, even if you tell yourself that the next conversation is not going to be about it, chances are, 20 minutes in, it becomes unavoidable?
We got on to the possible benefits the global pandemic has brought us. “Definitely the slower pace of life” I said. I’ve been able to do more workouts, more running, reading, baking and I’m even learning to knit! He replied “do you know, I’ve saved an absolute fortune on travel costs”. He’s a busy corporate lawyer who has had a small office at WorkSmart since we opened over 2 years ago, in fact, he was so keen to find an office close to his home in Hale, he reserved it off-plan.
The start of my knitting journey
It’s without question, for my lawyer friend, that not being able to commute to an open-plan office in Birmingham for the past 11 months has increased his productivity. “The amount of time I wasted on that train, I couldn’t even get a seat half the time so never even got to use it to my advantage to get some work done” he said. He hated that commute, I know this not just because he used to tell me how much he hated it, but because I saw just how burnt out he was and I used to thank god that I wasn’t a corporate lawyer!
An all too familiar sight for the commuter
Since we were able to re-open in July I‘ve definitely seen a big change in how people are choosing to work. Those who used to be in very early doors are now arriving that bit later and it’s not due to staying in bed, it’s because they’ve been able to do a session on their Peloton bike, or walked the dog with their other half. I went for a run at 7.30am this morning and managed a boiled egg on toast before I left. I consider that a very good morning because there have been too many where I’d be eating breakfast at my desk, or not at all.
A glorious running track in Mobberley
On our way back to the office, we got talking about how the culture of work is going to change going forward, now that we’ve had this opportunity to slow down. I’ve read so many articles predicting the future of offices and hailing the rise of suburban office space like https://worksmarthub.co.uk. The feeling I get, and of course the changes I’ve already seen at WorkSmart, is that we will see lots more businesses opting for satellite offices in commuter towns and business owners looking at flexible working, not necessarily full-time, but they will want the option.
I’m as eager as the next person to get going and fulfil the VISION I started out with for WorkSmart, but I also know that it will come with sacrifices. I think the question we need to ask ourselves when our lives start returning to normal is “how do I work best?”
There he is, on his new electric scooter!
Back at the office we spot one of our other guys Chris, relatively new to WorkSmart having moved his entire business from 30 years in the City Centre to work close to home in the suburbs. “Chris is a big deal you know, in the world of property acquisitions”, “You wouldn’t know” my lawyer friend replied, just as Chris pelts it past on his brand-new electric scooter – extremely casually dressed!